London

Biggin Hill Airport opening hours increase will 'avoid holiday trade'

Biggin Hill Airport
Image caption Local residents say there are 200,000 people living under the flight path who will be affected

A small London airport needs to extend its hours to avoid being forced to take on holidaymakers and more commercial airlines, its boss has claimed.

Biggin Hill Airport wants to increase bank holiday and weekend opening times to increase the number of flights.

Director William Curtis said he feared the airport could be asked to help the UK meet increased demand for air travel if the extension was not granted.

Bromley Council has approved new hours "in principle".

The airport, which caters to the business and general aviation sectors, is pushing for an hours' extension on weekdays, five-and-a-half hours' extra flying time on Saturday, and a further four-hour increase on Sundays.

'Scaremongering' claim

Mr Curtis was asked whether he was "scaremongering" about taking holiday airlines during a BBC London interview.

He said: "What we will do is to ensure that we have set our stall out in the business and general aviation sector and we won't therefore be potentially looked at later by government as a solution to the capacity crisis."

Councillor Stephen Carr, leader of Bromley Council, said the move had the needs of residents versus those of a successful airport "at the heart of" it.

Bromley Council said the length and timings of the extension were yet to be decided, and would be subject to noise controls and monitoring.

The agreement follows an eight-week consultation period which saw 76% of respondents support the plan, it said.

In total, the consultation received more than 41,000 responses, with 31,500 coming out in support of the proposals and about 10,000 against.

However, some have expressed concern at the council's decision.

Hugh Bance, of Bromley Residents Against Airport Development, said there were 200,000 people living under the flight path who would be affected.

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